National Park Service Listening Session

March 29, 2007

The National Park Service hosted a Listening Session at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles. With the Centennial of the National Park Service approaching in 2016, the agency hosted Listening Sessions nationwide to hear from the public to help craft a vision for the next century. NPS Superintendents from all over the Western United States including the Western Regional Director, Jon Jarvis, and many NPS rangers and managers were in attendance to facilitate discussions and take public input back to be compiled and presented to the White House as part of the Centennial Initiative, a ten-year plan to invigorate national parks and prepare for the next century. The Centennial Initiative provides $100 million per year to the NPS above and beyond the annual budget for investment into the National Park system. There is also a provision of up to $200 million per year additional funding, whereby the federal government will match philanthropic donations of up to $100 million to the NPS for signature projects.

Three main questions were asked by the NPS including: what are your hopes and expectations for the future of National Parks; what role should the National Parks play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world; and what projects and programs would you like to see completed. Despite these questions, a handful of anti-mountain bikers were in attendance suggesting that mountain bikes not be a part of the future of our National Parks. Fortunately, CORBA board members Jeff, Louisa and Gary were there to add balance to the discussion, provide input and also note how successful multi-use trails are in our local National Parks (i.e., Cheeseboro) as well as the amazing experiences that are available at parks such as Joshua Tree and Chaco Canyon.

We also shared our vision for a National Parks system with more opportunities for responsible mountain bicyclists. Bikes get people out of their cars and into the parks. Mountain biking is a sustainable, low-impact, human-scale form of recreation that is healthy for individuals, families and communities. We know from our experience in the Santa Monica’s and other National Parks that bikes belong. We thank the National Park Service for hosting the Listening Sessions.

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